Summit featured diverse range of panels, founder stories, startup spotlights and keynote addresses
Mayor Rahm Emanuel and World Business Chicago (WBC) recently welcomed more than 400 investors, startup founders and business leaders to the third Chicago Venture Summit, held at Google’s Chicago offices. Hosted by ChicagoNEXT, WBC’s council of technology leaders, the 2017 Venture Summit featured more than 75 emerging companies and highlighted Chicago as a leading, global technology hub for investment, entrepreneurship and innovation.
“I’m proud to again welcome tech leaders from across the U.S. to the 2017 Chicago Venture Summit,” Mayor Emanuel said. “The summit utilizes Chicago’s strength as a global hub for investment and entrepreneurship and connects our startups with local, national and global investors to drive world-class innovation and job growth.”
This year’s Venture Summit featured a diverse range of panels, founder stories, startup spotlights and keynote addresses from nationally-recognized leaders, opening with a conversation between Silicon Valley investor Ben Horowitz, co-founder and partner of Andreessen Horowitz, and Don Thompson, former CEO of McDonald’s and founder and CEO of Cleveland Avenue, LLC, a food-industry innovation hub. Matt Maloney, co-founder and CEO of GrubHub, the leading online food ordering company with more than 50,000 restaurants in more than 500 cities, provided the closing keynote address.
The summit kicked off by bringing more than 250 people to industry showcase events at five innovation hubs in downtown Chicago, including Cleveland Avenue, MATTER, TechNexus, the University of Chicago Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and 1871.
The 2017 Chicago Venture Summit built on the success of the past two summits in 2014 and 2016. The first Venture Summit in 2014 featured 30 companies, which have collectively raised at least $431 million since the conference. Investors at the 2016 Venture Summit represented more than $20 billion in investment capital. Of the featured startups in 2016, more than a third have received new funding within the past year, including SpotHero ($50.4 million); 4C Insights ($26 million); Caremerge ($14 million); Procured Health ($10 million); and Project 44 ($8.8 million).
“Chicago is not only one of the best cities for the next generation of entrepreneurs to build a business – it’s also a national leader for return on investment, outpacing New York, Los Angeles and the Bay Area,” Mark Tebbe, chairman of ChicagoNEXT said. “The Chicago Venture Summit provides a front-row seat to our booming tech ecosystem, showcasing why Chicago continues to grow as a leading global startup hub.”
As evidence of the Chicago ecosystem’s continued growth, local tech companies are on pace to have one of their best years ever in venture funding, raising more than $1.04 billion as of June 2017, compared to $930 million and $910 million in 2016 and 2015, respectively, according to Chicago Inno. Additionally, the Chicago area’s pool of total tech occupations was more than 143,000 in 2016, representing 32.8 percent growth since 2011 and outpacing large tech talent markets, including Seattle, Los Angeles and Boston, according to a recent report from CBRE.
Google, JPMorgan and William Blair returned as lead sponsors for the 2017 Chicago Venture Summit. Additional sponsors included Goldman Sachs, Pritzker Group, The PrivateBank, Silicon Valley Bank, American Family Ventures, Chicago Ventures, Hyde Park Venture Partners, Jump Capital and Lightbank.
For a full 2017 Chicago Venture Summit agenda and additional information, visit www.chicagoventuresummit.com.